A Billings man pleaded not guilty Tuesday to federal charges that he threatened to assault and murder former House Speaker Kevin McCarthy.
Richard Lee Rogers of Billings entered the plea during an initial appearance before U.S. Magistrate Judge Timothy Cavan in federal court.
Rogers is charged with threats to injure and murder a member of Congress, which carries a 10-year prison sentence and $250,000 fine. He faces a second charge of making harassing telephone calls.
The threats allegedly happened Feb. 3, several weeks after Republicans elected McCarthy to his short-lived tenure as speaker — which was characterized by frequent clashes with hard-right members of his own party.
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“If I’ve ever made anyone feel that I was dangerous, or a threat, I’m sorry,” he wrote.
A grand jury indictment filed last month said the threats were intended as retaliation for McCarthy’s actions as House speaker but did not provide details. The indictment said Rogers made repeated interstate phone calls “solely to harass a person” but did not name the person.
Rogers and attorney Vann Arvanetes from the Federal Defenders of Montana declined comment as